Swimming: Barber praises hard work of swim star after cuts to funding

Rebecca Turner during the Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Heat at the Aquatics Centre in London. Tony Marshall/PA Wire.
Rebecca Turner during the Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay Heat at the Aquatics Centre in London. Tony Marshall/PA Wire.
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The coach of Olympic swimmer Rebecca Turner says she’ll be a contender for a medal at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Russ Barber, head coach of the City of Sheffield Swim Squad, who are based at Ponds Forge, said 20-year-old Turner’s commitment to the sport will ensure that she reaches the top: “In the last 10 years, she has never missed training for anything other than emergencies and she always prioritises training over everything else.”

Originally from Rotherham, Turner now lives in Sheffield and studies at the city’s Hallam University.

Despite performing well at the Games in London last year she missed out on qualifying for the semi-final of the 200 metres freestyle by just two hundreths of a second.

In the relay squads she played a key role in helping Team GB qualify for the final of the 100m freestyle and then produced an excellent swim as part of the 200m line-up that finished fifth in the final.

However, after cuts by UK Sport to British Swimming funding, Turner’s world ranking individually isn’t high enough to qualify for the top level of support, which means she’ll miss out on more advanced specialist services and coaching.

Barber is in no doubt that Turner will still be a force in the British team. He said: “The way she won the 200m Freestyle at the Olympic Trials in 2012 was one of the most powerful performances I have ever seen from a British female swimmer, and was a testament to the hard work she has put in over the years.

“I am incredibly proud of her, and she is an absolute pleasure to work with. I know she will go on to challenge for a podium spot in 2016.

“It is a travesty that we have athletes of this calibre in the region, that are struggling to make ends meet, and may have to compromise their training in order to put food on the table.

“She is a Yorkshire lass through and through and I really hope we can find a way to support her, and bring some success back to the area, with all of the benefits that will bring to the next generation.”